A recent study published in the journal Nutrients details the link between extra virgin olive oil and brain health in mildly cognitively impaired individuals.
The study was conducted by a researcher at Auburn University's College of
Pharmacy and it revealed that extra virgin olive oil may be beneficial to patients who are dealing with mild cognitive impairment.
The small study involved 25 participants experiencing mild cognitive impairment. The participants consumed three tablespoons of olive a day for six months. Thirteen of the group consumed extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) while 12 consumed refined olive oil (ROO). ROO has had the organic compound phenol removed while EVOO retains the phenol.
Study participants had MRI scans, cognitive tests and blood analysis performed before and after the study. The results showed that both EVOO and ROO improved cognitive function of the participants' clinical dementia rating and other behavioral scores.
Of particular note is that the EVOO improved the blood-brain barrier function and the functional connectivity between different brain areas in those individuals while the ROO increased the functional brain activation to a memory task in the cognition related areas within the brain.
Additional studies are needed to better understand how olive exerts such effects in humans. Larger clinical trials involving participants with normal cognition are needed as well as studies using different grades of olive oil.